Friday, June 15, 2007

The Good, the Boom, and the Ugly

A fellow who was a PA on a shoot I worked on as a sound mixer a few years ago called today asking for a budget price for location sound on a feature he's producing. I wrote this:
"Now typically for a commercial shoot the numbers would break down like this:
Commercial rates $650/10-hr day sound mixer
$750/day gear rental
$550/day boom operator
That is, of course, completely untenable on a $85,000 shoot as it'll eat almost half your budget. You're going to want to cut sound pre- and post-production down to about 15% of your total budget I imagine. The real trick is budgeting for a boom operator. Typically it's easier to get the sound mixer (with gear) to go under their normal rate than getting a good boom op to go under their normal rate - which is why so many low-budget shoots use an intern to boom.
It's certainly a lot easier on the sound mixer to have a good boom operator rather than an unexperienced boom operator, but more than that it also adds to the overall quality of the movie. Some noises will magically go away, the set will be a mellower place, life will be better and filled with roses, wine, and song, when you have a good experienced boom operator."

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